Function, not Form: Defining Targets for Justice in the Post-2015 Development Agenda

Written by Peter Chapman, Open Society Justice Initiative on the Global Policy Journal

“The Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) are set to expire, and expectations around the inclusion of justice and good governance in a post-2015 development framework couldn’t be higher.

While the MDG approach of global goals, targets and indicators remains controversial, the development framework has been useful in catalyzing action and tracking progress in certain areas. Advocates suggest that the limited number of eight original goals and short 15-year period of implementation were effective in motivating progress towards poverty alleviation and securing gains in health and education (though causation is contested).

Yet, issues of justice and governance were notably absent in this framework. The Millennium Declaration had initially included reference to such themes, resolving to “strengthen respect for the rule of law … in national affairs” and arguing that poverty alleviation ultimately depends on “good governance within each country.” In the end, however, these issues were determined to be not as measurable as health or education outputs and not incorporated into the development framework.”

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